Britain's BBC to shift more news, drama and radio out of London

·1-min read
Pedestrians walk past a BBC logo at Broadcasting House, as the corporation announced it will cut around 450 jobs from its news division, in London

LONDON (Reuters) - The BBC said on Thursday it would move more of its news, television and radio operations to the regions and countries of the United Kingdom to better reflect its audiences, resulting in 400 jobs relocating from the capital.

Director-General Tim Davie said the broadcaster, which is funded by a licence fee paid by TV watching households, had to deliver for the whole of Britain.

"These plans will get us closer to audiences, create jobs and investment, and develop and nurture new talent," he said.

Critics have said the BBC's London-centric and metropolitan viewpoint has meant it has failed to fully represent alternative views, notably in the Brexit debate.

Davie said when he started the job six months ago that the broadcaster must represent "every part of this country".

Under the plan, half of the broadcaster's news teams focusing on Britain would move outside London, affecting 200 journalist jobs, the BBC said.

Flagship news programme Newsnight will be presented from different UK bases through the year and Radio 4's Today will be co-presented from outside London for at least 100 episodes a year, it said.

Two new long-running drama series – one from the north of England and one from one of the nations - would be commissioned in the next three years, it said, and a majority of its UK-wide TV will be made outside London.

Half of its network radio and music spend would also be outside London by 2027/28, it said.

The plan, which covers the period 2022 to 2027, would result in an extra 700 million pounds ($978 million) of spending outside London, it said.

($1 = 0.7156 pounds)

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Kate Holton)